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Nshima & Curry
Nshima & Curry
A LITTLE KINDNESS GOES A LONG WAY
A few weeks ago, soon after my family moved to a new home, a
man left a telephone message for us, saying he had
found a box containing our credit cards and papers outside a
restaurant. Since none of our boxes appeared to be missing,
an alarm went off in my head: "Danger! Danger! This could be
a scam. You may want to call the police, the FBI, or even
Ashcroft was busy (something about a war on terrorism), so
my wife and I called the number the man had left. The man
wasn't home, but his mother described the wooden box and its
contents, turning my suspicion into gratitude. Among the
contents was a poem my wife had composed many years ago, a
poem more precious to her than almost anything she owns,
outside her wardrobe.
The man's mother refused a small reward, saying we should
just do the same thing for someone else. We are determined
to follow her wishes, as soon as we find another wooden box
with a poem.
I don't know how our box ended up outside that restaurant
(it wasn't a windy day), but perhaps it was good fortune,
for it allowed me to experience a rare treat from a
stranger: kindness. In today's hectic world, kindness just
doesn't seem as common as rudeness.
Some folks are rude to almost everyone, including their
families. Yes, they aren't even kind to their own kind. Try
greeting one of these people and they'll pretend you don't
exist. "Did someone say something to me? No, that must be
one of those voices in my head."
Other folks are rude now and then, whenever the spirit moves
them. Spirit of John McEnroe, that is. The Hall of Fame
tennis player built his career not just on stellar play, but
also on random acts of rudeness.
A few people can't seem to differentiate between kindness
and rudeness. For them, I offer these pointers:
---Kindness means putting yourself in the shoes of another
person; rudeness means running away in those shoes.
---Kindness takes time and effort; rudeness takes just a
---Kindness reminds people to "care" and "love"; rudeness
reminds people of other four-letter words.
---Kindness asks the question "Can I assist you in any
way?"; rudeness asks the question "Can I assault you in any
---Kindness expects you to show your heart to others;
rudeness expects you to show your tongue.
---Kindness can make you a Good Samaritan; rudeness can make
you a good radio DJ.
Thankfully, there are still many kind souls in the world.
Just a week ago, when my car broke down on the
Pennsylvania Turnpike, I experienced the kindness of an
Italian immigrant named Giuseppe DiBella, who invited me
into his pizzeria to use his telephone and refused to
accept any payment for the long-distance call. As
I awaited a tow truck, DiBella told me I could stay there as
long as I wanted, even without doing the dishes.
Every time I drive through Pennsylvania, I'm going to
try to eat at Dibella's Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant,
where the food is mighty good, but not half as
good as the man behind the counter.